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In the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist blog publisher David Hobby demonstrates how to use compact flash units in a variety of lighting scenarios. In this first installment, he covers the basics, starting with ambient window light and ending with a four-light shoot of a model. Along the way, the course covers a variety of fundamental lighting concepts as well as accessories such as ring lights and softboxes. The course includes diagrams and detailed explanations of the lighting setups.
Okay, we kind of called a little bit of an audible. This is not something I planned to do, but at LubLight they had these really cool like distressed wallpaper covered, I want to say doors, or are they? Or just like cloud panels. Really neat idea, and you can throw them around on lots a different ways. So Dave, if you can follow me back here. Just, you can throw a long lens. We'd built them up in a couple of layers. Just standing two of them against the wall, letting that light stand tuck back in there and leaning the third one right in front.
All the sand bags are still in the car, so if it starts to slide down, everyone just like run. So what that does is give us a backdrop that is not two-dimensional anymore. It has this layered neat look of a backdrop in front of a backdrop, and the front one covers up the scene behind. So Eric is sort of working as a voice-activated boom, and he's going to hang an umbrella, which has got a flash which was, what was it? 8th power, quarter power, right around there somewhere. It's a quarter? So a modest amount of power coming down, hang it right over her. This is really different direction than we came in with before, like the typical 45 up and 45 over. He's literally dropping this thing down right in front of her and up top, and that's going to give this cone of light that spreads out down her face. It's not going to look like its straight over her head, because this umbrella goes out like 4, 5, 6 feet in front of her, so her chin can see that far edge of the umbrella.
So it's going to sculpt her face as it goes down. The other thing I'm hoping to get with it is a little a little more light here than we're getting back here and a little bit of a shadow wrap on the sides. So I'm hoping that'll make a neat sort of a three-dimensional stack. Now she's really going to have to bring some attitude to this one to pull it off. So we'll get our light fixed, and then we'll bring her in, and then after we do that I want to take a ring flash and start pushing some fill in from that ring flash and working the ratios. This, as it happens, is completely flash. This is all this is all light coming from the front.
We've got windows behind her, which if I start to open up my shutter speed, I may start to put a little bit of rim right around her shoulder, so that's something we can play with too. But right now let's just see what we've got. So Eric, you want to really have that light almost pointing straight down, fly it out in front of her, and tilt it back to her just a little bit. And I'm just going to look for a second, so you don't have to be to--okay, so wrap it away from her a little bit, good. That's great. I want to move the over tiniest bit-- split the difference like half of that, go back.
There you go, now take a deep breath and just fall into it a little bit. Good, chin up just a little bit not so much. There you go. The smile is one thing that's not going to work here. This has to be like 100% attitude, so bring it. I'm going to back up just a little bit and come in. Let's see if I can see all the way down. So turn your body where your feet aren't facing right towards me, so you have to rotate around a little bit to see me. You can turn it either direction, because our light is right over your face.
So whatever direction you're comfortable turning back and looking at me, I want you to rotate you're body in that opposite direction, so you come back and move over this way just a little bit. Could those heels be any taller, right now. No, I'm sorry. I wear heels a lot too. I'm not really this tall. Okay, how is that looking? Very nice. All right chin up just a little bit. There you go. Now just jump the gun. Now I've got this on quarter power, so if I need to at anytime, I can go and use up all of my, I used up my entire flash power by doing that, but I didn't have to wait between frames, and that's the beauty of working on a lower than full power.
So here we go all right. So every now and then just take a break and fall back into it, and we'll work for a series of 4-5 different poses. You don't have to move every time I push the button, okay? So just fall into things that are comfortable for you, and I'm going to try to keep up with you. But rather then just click move, click move, click move, it starts to be like, who's dictating the pace, and do I shoot now or do you need to move now, just like relax and just feel a little more. I'm going to work and get one--I really want to a have a lot of attitude in this picture. We're in a studio now, but this could have been taken in a nightclub or any place that just had a cool backdrop, there's really no sense of place to this at all, other than the backdrop that we've got behind you.
So let me look and see what looks good on your face, and then we'll go from there. But this looks--this just has a really cool lool. Okay, don't move. Bend forward just a little bit like that. All right, work your face a little bit. There you go. Okay, fly it out in front of her a little more, Eric. When she looks down bring it out a little bit in front of her so that light can discover her face a little more. If she's looking up, you can bring in a little tighter towards her, okay? I want to make sure I've got my variables down.
All right, here we go. Deep breath and yeah. You are basically becoming someone else here for a few minutes. That's what's going on. Good, good. All right, okay, relax. I just got not bifocals, but trifocal progressives because I'm old now officially, and I'm still getting used to photographing through that. Oh! I like what you just did there when you pulled your hand on your shoulder like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah go through that motion again. There you go, there you go.
All right, now you should think superior to me when you are looking at me now. Just be condescending. There you go, that's good. Would not give me the time of day. This is a real stretch for you I know. I'm kidding. There we go. Okay, move over this way just a little bit. You want to stay right on axis with me in that front panel that's right behind you. So if you feel yourself starting to drift a little bit towards Eric-- I think we've all been there--just good, good, good.
All right turn away from me a little more, so you have to turn back towards me when you're --good, good, good. Don't move, don't move. That's great. Don't move, don't move, don't move. Okay, from that body position, just work around that a little bit, okay? That expression is really good too. Really now superior, just completely superior to me, that little look. If you fall, I'm totally superior to you because I'm wearing tennis shoes right now, and I'm not going to fall. Great, great.
All right, more serious. That's nice right there. I want you to see this. So this light is really pulling off that attitude real quick. See how these doors just kind of wrap around behind you like that. So given what I'm shooting, see yourself in that in a different way and just push it a little bit okay.
All right, 2 7 59, okay deep breath and just straight, and we'll just progressively push it a little further as you're going. Eric, you're doing perfect on the light. You know, let me try one thing. Let me take the--let me bring up the ambient exposure and see if that shoulder rim light's worth having. Nope. The whole thing came up before her shoulder started coming up, so I want to stick straight with this one flash and then we'll push in a little fill in a minute. All right, deep breath and push it a little bit.
Now, really condescending. Just be its condescending to me as you can be, almost, like completely inaccessible to anyone, except Will. Sorry, anyone? Anyone? Hello, I'm right here in the room. All right, here we go. All right push it a little further. There you go. I like the hair too. Good. All right, relax for just a second. That next to the last one was really nice. You wouldn't even give me eye contact there, and that's really--that's just stretching yourself further and further away from the camera, and it's very cool.
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